Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A few updates:

My Sony A580 is still being serviced so I've been using a fee Canon Rebel cameras I borrowed from friends. I really miss the tilting LCD :( Hoping to get it back today or early next week.

And.... I can finally order the Sony A99 and I am going to do just that sometimes in the next few days. I just need to tie up the financing and go to the camera store on Alenbi st. They say it gets here within two weeks. Naturally, I'm a little skeptical, but also happy that I can finally get it and write some more interesting things in  this blog.

Also, started working on my first feature, "Spiral". Some of the shots in the movie will be done using the A99, but I'm seriously considering shooting most of the movie using a phone camera, maybe the Nokia Lumia 920, if I can get it. I will explain why probably in some future post :)

Update -
Just ordered my brand new Sony Alpha A99. Should probably get some other stuff with it, but it is kind of a hefty expenditure, so I guess I can just tell you what my wish list contains:

New Sony unit that fits the A99 ISO mount
20mm 1.8 FF lens
Video accessory
Separate sound recorder, just in case.
Some sort of brace mount for video work, but which one?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So why are we here?

I've started out as a photographer with a Minolta film SLR that I bought on vacation in Eilat. I didn't know a whole lot about photography back than and it was quite a different world back than. Having purchased a few cameras since than, I sort of stuck to Sony. Every time I was going to buy a camera, whether it was stills or video, Sony had the right innovation and pricing for me. Also, I had a good experience with Sony equipment,  in rain, sand and snow and had very few malfunctions. Not long ago I had a problem with my Sony A580 picture stabilizer, but even though it was dead, the camera actually continued working and earning me revenue rather than showing one of those infuriating service-your-camera error numbers that you get with Canon equipment.
The Sony Alpha 580 is a good, surprisingly small DSLR which I got because I really needed to shoot some video along with the stills I was already shooting.  However, as I became more serious as a photographer and a videographer I sort of outgrew it. The short length of videos that you can take, overheating, and slow weak processor made it difficult to use on a lot of occasions. It's automatic focus is really not that good and if you shoot with a long shutter you have to wait a few seconds for it to recover. If you shoot a few shots, one after the other, the camera will take its sweet time processing them and writing to the card, even if it's a fast SD card.
I thought of getting the Sony A77 or even switching to Canon or Nikon. I have a few friends with Canon, so I could borrow lenses and other accessories from them if needed. However, if there was one thing that I really liked about the 580 was the tiling LCD screen which I constantly use in various photography and videography scenarios. It allowed me to be more creative in my work and in my art.
Canon and Nikon, however, do not like to put these "video-like" LCDs into their high-end models. I briefly considered the Canon EOS 60D, but it was sort of comparable in features to what I already had, only with some manual video control. Also, all the projects which I shot with both Canons and my own Sony cameras showed the Sonys to have superior color reproduction.
So, Sony A77? It seemed like a solid APS-C camera, but some reviews were a little negative with regards to the OVF technology, which is fancy for digital viewfinder. I also discovered that some the photos I took could not really be printed in large format as they weren't sharp enough or had enough pixels. I was working on a photography project which was much suited to large printing, so this was a little annoying. I thought of getting a medium format film camera for completing this project but instead decided on buying a full-frame camera, the Sony A99, as full-frame cameras produce sharper images and the 24MP image is not to big yet large enough to fit the sensor and lenses.
Time went by and Sony sort of delayed the A99 announcement, which brought me back to considering the A77, but one very small thing convinced me to wait. The A77 doesn't have a ear plug phones socket, which I sometimes seriously need to ensure that sound is good when recording occasional interviews.
So, I got funding for the A99 (not cheap) and was glad to see that Sony invested a lot of thought into making that model a very good stills/video hybrid with almost all features that I could need and then some more.
So right now that only thing keeping me from having one is that fact that it is not sold yet in Israel, where I live.
I've asked two of my Sony vendors to figure out how much it costs to get it here. I guess it will take about two month at least for me to hold the A99 in my hands but I am seriously excited and will definitely write some more when I get to actually order it.
For now, you can look at what can be accomplished, even with the limited video capabilities of the A580, as shown here in the music video I did for Adi Ulmansky when I first got the camera and the Sigur Ros video I made recently.